"Invisible" computer virus: Is this true?

A freind told me that there’s a computer virus that you can place in the E-mail itself. Not in the attachment but in the E-Mail itself. Not only that but Norton anti-virus can’t detect it either. Is this true? If it is true Is there anyway to tell if my computer has these viruses (virii?)?

Sounds like crapola to me. Unless you’re using HTML email, perhaps, there’s a very outside chance of embedded AtiveX controls or the like, but it’s impossible with regular plain-text email. Check the Symantec website whenever you hear about a new virus.

Something like this was reported in February 2001 here.

You can’t hide a virus in (Ebola) text without it being noticed.

I dunno, I’ve herpes simplex that you can.

I have heard of something sort of like this - a few years back, there was a vulnerability in MS Outlook Express discovered: if it received an email with a really, really, really long title, it could cause a buffer overflow on your system, without you ever actually having to open the email. I don’t think it was ever put into practice, and the vulnerability is long since patched though.


There’s a story about a similar phenomenon for Macintosh Outlook Express. I guess the moral of the story is: keep up-to-date with the latest patches and bugfixes.

I can think of a better moral. Punchier too.

Don’t use Outlook.

In general, any information about a virus “from a friend”, or forwarded in an e-mail full of hysterical language like “Goes straight past Norton and McAfee!!!” is to be assumed false until verified.

Garnet has it. Programs have flaws. Bad programs have really bad flaws. Lots of bad things in MS Outlook. New ones are discovered all the time. Worms/Viruses/OtherBadThings can be written to exploit them. To fix the source of the problem is the software suppliers jobs (if they feel like it).

Anti-virus programs can only deal with it once it’s started to do it’s thing. (More “traditional” email viruses have signatures and such that can be checked directly. These kind may not even look like executable code.)

The best solution is to not use the most heavily used and buggy email program on the planet. There are hundreds of others, almost all of which are better written, that also have the advantage of being less likely targeted.